St. Rita Novenas

Join us as we celebrate. Novenas start the first Thursday of each month with Novena Mass & Prayers taking place at the St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel at 7:00pm central. The opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation is also available starting at 6:00pm.

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Novena Prayers to Saint Rita of Cascia

Daily Reflections

Entrance Hymn

Come, saints adored and  martyrs strong;

Come, wives and mothers: join our song!

Come, Christian men, and give your praise

To God for Rita's life of grace.

Loving and patient as a wife,

Bringing Christ's peace to family life;

Model of Christian motherhood,

Blest widow trusting in the Lord.

In all these roles she lived and served;

Yet further work the Lord preferred;

To convent cloister Rita went

To live a life of penitence.

Under Augustine's holy Rule

Rita was Cascia's brightest jewel,

Wed to the Gospel following

And crowned with Jesus' suffering.

We now proclaim in song and priase

This flower of God who spent her days

Loving the Father and the Son

And Spirit blest, the Three in One.

-by Timothy E. Deeter, O.S.A. 1974

Novena Prayers

Leader:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth Your Spirit and our hearts will be renewed.

All:

And you will renew the face of the earth.

Leader:

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, instructed the hearts of the faithful; grant us, by the same Holy Spirit, a love and desire for what is right and just, and the constant enjoyment of His consolation, we ask this through Crist our Lord. Amen.

Litany of Saint Rita

Lord, have mercy on us.

Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us, Christ hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of heaven,

have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,

have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit,

have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,

have mercy on us.

Immaculate Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us.

Holy Mary, Mother of Good Counsel,

pray for us.

Holy Mary, Mother of pure love,

pray for us.

Holy Mary, Comforter of the afflicted,

pray for us.

Holy Mary, Queen of all saints,

pray for us.

Holy Mary, Model of life for Saint Rita,

pray for us.

St. Rita, our advocate and protectress,

pray for us.

St. Rita, beloved by the Lord,

pray for us.

St. Rita, given special grace from heaven,

pray for us.

St. Rita, remarkable in childhood,

pray for us.

St. Rita, model of obedience to God's Will,

pray for us.

St. Rita, the peacemaker,

pray for us.

St. Rita, of untiring patience,

pray for us.

St. Rita, model of Christian mothers,

pray for us.

St. Rita, mirror for Christian spouses,

pray for us.

St. Rita, heroic in sacrifice,

pray for us.

St. Rita, generous in forgiving,

pray for us.

St. Rita, martyr in penitence

pray for us.

St. Rita, embracing humility and poverty,

pray for us.

St. Rita, exemplary as a widow,

pray for us.

St. Rita, prompt to answer the divine call,

pray for us.

St. Rita, patient in suffering,

pray for us.

St. Rita, mirror of religious observance,

pray for us.

St. Rita, mystical rose of every virtue,

pray for us.

St. Rita, enamored of the Passion of Christ,

pray for us.

St. Rita, pierced with a thorn,

pray for us.

St. Rita, in ecstasy before the Blessed Sacrament,

pray for us.

St. Rita, consumed with Divine Love,

pray for us.

St. Rita, received into heaven with joy,

pray for us.

St. Rita, incorrupt in your chaste body,

pray for us.

St. Rita, advocate of impossible cases,

pray for us.

St. Rita, persevering in prayer,

pray for us.

St. Rita, help of those in need,

pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,

Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,

Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,

Have mercy on us.

Leader:

Lord, you have signed your servant, Rita.

All:

With the marks of Your love and Passion.

Leader:

Let us pray. O God, who bestowed on St. Rita such grace that she loved her enemies, and bore in her heart and on her forehead the mark of Your love and Passion, grant us, we beseech You, through her merits and intercession, a love for our enemies. Through our contemplation of Your Son's sufferings and Passion, may we merit the reward promised to the meek and the suffering. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of Petition

All:

Glorious St. Rita, patroness of those in need, your intercession with our Lord is most powerful. Through the favors obtained by your prayers you have been called "Advocate of hopeless and even impossible cases." St. Rita, humble and pure; patient and compassionate Lover of Christ Crucified! We have confidence that everyone who has recourse to  you, will find comfort and relief. Listen to our petitions and show your power with God in our behalf. Obtain our petitions for us if they are for the greater honor of God, and for our good. We promise, if our petitions are granted, to make known your favor, and to glorify God for His gift.

Relying on your power with the merciful Savior, we ask of you...

(Offer your requests in silence)

By the singular merits of your childhood, 

obtain our request for us.

By your perfect union with the Divine Will, 

obtain our request for us.

By your acceptance of troubles in your married life,

obtain our request for us.

By the anguish felt at the murder of your husband,

obtain our request for us.

By the example of forgiveness you gave to your sons,

obtain our request for us.

By your miraculous entrance into the convent,

obtain our request for us.

By your daily penance and fasting,

obtain our request for us.

By your courage and joy in bearing the mark of the Crucified Savior,

obtain our request for us.

By the Divine Love which consumed your life,

obtain our request for us.

By your devotion in receiving the Blessed Sacrament,

obtain our request for us.

By the happiness you felt in leaving this life for union with Christ,

obtain our request for us.

By the example you have given to people of every state of life,

obtain our request for us.

Leader:

Pray for us, St. Rita,

All:

That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Leader:

Let us pray.

All:

Heavenly Father! In Your infinite love and mercy you heed the prayer of Your beloved servant, Rita. You graciously grant favors through her intercession, which are considered impossible to human skill and effort. Relying on her compassionate love, we ask You to assist us in our trials and difficulties. Let unbelievers know that you are the helper of the humble, the defender of the weak, and the strength of those who trust in You. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn to St. Rita of Cascia

O blessed Saint, to whom God grants

Power to open His dear Heart, 

From it to pour full streams of grace,

Open to us His Heart!

REFRAIN:

Pray, St. Rita! Pray for us today!

Pray now and always for us who lvoe you!

Pray in our sorrows! Pray in our need!

With you, St. Rita, we, your friends, do plead!

That God may bless our homes and school.

And from us turn away all harm;

That He may hear us for your sake,

Dear St. Rita, we pray! (Refrain)

St. Rita of Cascia, Pray for Us!

 
 

Day 1: The Birth of St. Rita

About the year 1381 in the small town of Rocca Porena, Italy, in the mountains near the larger town of Cascia, a girl was born to two peasants, Antonio and Amata Lotti. They, like the parents of John the Baptist, had been childless and advanced in years. This aging couple had their daughter baptized a few days later in the parish church of Cascia. They named their child "Rita." An old legend says that one day while her parents were working the hilly fields and the baby Rita was in a baby basket nearby, a swarm of white bees lit upon her lips and deposited honey in her mouth.

 

Day 2: The Education of St. Rita

Schools were not a part of Rita's life. Her father and mother could not read or write, nor did Rita herself ever learn to read or write well. But she was careful to observe and listen to all that went on around her. Her school books were: her father and mother, the neighbors, her playmates, the farm animals and fields, her chores, the quiet and solitude, the view from the mountain side, the statues and pictures in church, the preacher, and especially the crucifix. As a young girl Rita frequently visited the convent of the Augustinian Nuns in Cascia and dreamed of one day joining their community.

 

There is little evidence that Rita as a young girl and adolescent was destined for an exceptional future. She stood out only by her gentleness, obedience, happiness, and by the simplicity and dignity of the way she lived. Hidden from others, the love of God was growing ever deeper in Rita's patient heart with each breath, as she loved her parents, her neighbors and friends, her lambs, and the roses that climbed over their little dwelling.

 

Day 3: The Marriage of St. Rita

Ever since her childhood Rita desired to vow herself fully to God. She converted one of the rooms of her home into a place of quiet and prayer. There at times she listened in secret to the Lord who spoke to her heart.

 

Rita's parents did not understand the deepest secret of Rita's heart: to become an Augustinian nun. They were eager to have her marry, perhaps to provide for Rita since they were poor and by then quite old and close to death. Rita must have felt terrible. She had kept herself from joining the convent in the interest of looking after her parents and now she was being told to get married.

 

So Rita went to her little room of quiet and cried and prayed. There God made known to her that by conforming and submitting her will to that of her parents, she would be obeying His holy will and lose nothing of that intimate relationship with the Friend and Spouse of her heart. God has His own plan for her. So, she consented to marry Paolo Ferdinando Mancini.

 

Day 4: St. Rita: Wife

Rita's husband, Paolo Ferdinando Mancini, had an abrasive nature. After their marriage, Rita moved into his home where her mother-in-law considered her an intruder. Paolo was employed as a watchman for the town. In Cascia, as elsewhere, a great rivalry existed between two popular and powerful political factions. As a minor official of the town, Paolo often found himself drawn into the conflict, and the strain which this caused accounted for the tension which he sometimes brought into the Mancini household. It is quite difficult to please a husband who is easily provoked, who insults and criticizes everything. Heroic demands were placed on Rita's patience and love.

 

By her prayer, patience, and affection, however, Rita was able to ease the stress and worry her husband experienced. More and more she grew to understand and deeply love this man. She came to see beneath and beyond the violence of her husband. Deep within she would even suffer more and be more concerned about his relationship with God than about - his relationship with her. Gradually, Paolo grew somewhat calmer, less abrasive, closer to Rita, closer to God. None of this was able to shield him altogether from the dangers to which society exposed him.

 

Day 5: St. Rita: Mother

There were other sufferings and sadness in Rita's life besides those stemming from her husband. Her elderly parents died and her own marriage had not been blessed with even one child. Rita did not despair. She would hope and trust.

 

Finally one day with joy rising out of her heart she told her husband, "God has blessed us. We are parents." We know that Rita had two sons, nearly the same age. Some have even surmised that they were twins. The elder boy's name was "Giacomo Antonio" and the younger "Paolo Maria." Rita and her husband together discovered the joys, responsibilities, and sorrows of children in the home. Like every woman who is a mother, Rita learned that it is an experience that unfolds day by day.

 

Day 6: St. Rita: Widow

One day as Paolo was returning home from work he was ambushed and killed. An old injury that Paolo Ferdinanda inflicted had festered and now was unleashed in an assassination. As he walked up the road to Rocca Porena, his enemy jumped out of the shadows of a mill and struck him down with a knife.

 

The pain that this violent death caused Rita was only compounded by the fear that her two teenage sons, moved by the unwritten law of the "vendetta," would seek to avenge their father's death. Rita's only recourse was to prayer and persuasion. She would say to God, "Heal the anger of these sons of mine as you healed their father's anger, even take them to Yourself if that is the only way of keeping their anger from growing into murder."

 

As it happened, the death of both boys from natural causes soon after removed them from physical and spiritual danger. Both repented, had made their peace with God. Rita was alone, but not lonely. She was free to do whatever God would call her to next.

 

Day 7: St. Rita: Augustinian Nun

Rita was now about thirty-five years of age. Her husband and children were dead and inevitable changes would take place in her daily living. Often during the day and in prayer, she wondered whether she should stay on in her home in the little village of Rocca Porena or whether the Lord wanted something else of her. Deep promptings in her heart seemed to be calling her to a life of service, penance, and prayer at the Augustinian convent in nearby Cascia, Perhaps even twenty years later the Lord was still calling her to the cloister.

 

On arriving at the convent next to the Augustinian Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Rita was graciously welcomed by the Mother Superior. Though Rita did not think herself worthy to live there among the other nuns, she asked to enter because she was sure that God was calling her to this very convent. However, the Mother Superior responded, "We only accept young unmarried women into our community. We don't accept widows." Moreover, some of the religious of the community were relatives to the members of the political factions considered responsible for Paolo's death, and so as not to tempt the harmony of the convent, Rita's request for admissions was denied. Twice more Rita would walk back along the river to Cascia and each time be refused entrance again. She implored her three patron saints-John the Baptist, Augustine, and Nicholas of Tolentine-to assist her, and she set about the task of establishing peace between the hostile parties of Cascia. Her success was so great that her entry into the monastery was finally assured.

 

Day 8: St. Rita: Peacemaker

Rita had pledged to follow the ancient Rule of Saint Augustine. For the next forty years she gave herself wholeheartedly to prayer and works of charity, striving especially to preserve peace and harmony among the citizens of Cascia. With a pure love she wanted more and more to be intimately joined to the redemptive suffering of Jesus. One day when she was about sixty years of age, she was meditating before an image of Christ crucified as she was long accustomed to doing. Suddenly a small wound-a stigmata-appeared on her forehead, as though a thorn from the crown that encircled Christ's head had loosed itself and penetrated her own flesh.

 

For the next fifteen years she bore this external sign of union with the Lord. In spite of the pain she constantly experienced, she offered herself courageously for the physical and spiritual well-being of others. She would always consider this stigmata as the greatest gift of God's love: a sign that she would love God so completely that she would never expect consolation in this life, but was willing to imitate her Lord in His sufferings, rejection, loneliness, ridicule, and misunderstanding. During the last four years of her life Rita was confined to bed and was able to eat little except the Eucharist alone. In this she brought peace to all who came to visit her. Her patience, faith, and joyful disposition despite her great suffering was an inspiration.

 

Day 9: The Death of St. Rita

Finally as an old woman in her mid-seventies, Rita came to the last days of her Earthly life. As a young girl she had to learn to bear with her parents as they aged and made demands on her she did not want to accept. As a wife, she had to bear with a husband who was not always considerate and kind. She had to bear with the violent deaths of her husband and two sons in a year's time. She had to bear with the misunderstanding of the Augustinian nuns. Then, she bore the physical pain of the stigmata on her forehead along with a long illness that confined her to her bed. Through it all, Rita grew in interior peace and love for Christ, her Lord, and others.

 

One of those who visited her some few months before her death-a relative from her hometown of Rocca Porena-was privileged to witness firsthand the extraordinary things wrought by Rita's requests. When asked if she had any special desires, Rita asked only that a rose from the garden of her parents' home be brought to her. It was a small favor to ask, but quite an impossible one to grant in the month of January! Nevertheless, on returning home the woman discovered, to her amazement, a single brightly-colored blossom on the bush where the nun said it would be. Picking it, she returned immediately to the monastery and presented it to Rita who gave thanks to God for this sign of love. Thus the saint of the thorn became the saint of the rose, and she whose impossible requests were granted her became the saint of impossible causes. As she breathed her last, Rita's final words to the sisters who gathered around her were, "Remain in the holy love of Jesus. Remain in obedience to the holy Roman Church. Remain in peace and fraternal charity." Immediately after Rita died, the stigmata on her forehead, which had emitted a foul smell, healed and a fragrant odor surrounded her.

Having faithfully and lovingly responded to God's many invitations to her in the course of her seventy-six years, Rita returned to God in peace on May 22, 1457. Her body, which has remained incorrupt over the centuries, is venerated today in the shrine at Cascia which bears her name.